Friends in high places

It must be a difficult psychological cross to bear, being a knee-jerk Unionist on Twitter. Scotland is shite. We couldn’t possibly afford it. We’re rubbish. It will all go horribly wrong. Anyway everyone hates us. After all, if you define love as the way that the Tory party treats us, then hate must be a very frightening prospect. Although thankfully Scotland won’t get the opportunity to be hated by Europe, because we’ll be vetoed by Spain, Malta, and that chorus line of Slovenian drag queens who were responsible for their Eurovision entry a few years back. Scotland scores null points in the Eurovision scoreboard of life.

The European Parliament has just appointed the former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt as its lead negotiator on Brexit. Guy’s the guy who said that Scotland’s desire to remain in the EU should be respected and that we’d be allowed to remain a member if we vote for independence before Brexit negotiations are concluded. There’s no big obstacle to Scotland remaining a member, Guy said just after the Tory’s Brexit galactofuck inserted itself like an alien anal probe into the body politic of Scotland. Later he remarked that Scotland wouldn’t have to go to the back of any queue. Our membership of the EU would be seamless and unproblematic.

Guy’s the man who slated UKIP for racism and extremism after the Brexit vote. He condemned their abuse of an image of Syrian refugees. After the EU referendum said that the silver lining was that at least the EU would get rid of the biggest waste in its budget – the salary and expenses of Nigel Farage. After Nige’s failed attempt to become an MP, Guy mocked his return to the EU Parliament telling him “Welcome back to the big election loser.” You can see why UKIP and the Tory right isn’t happy that he’s been appointed as the EU Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit. Scotland’s got friends in high places, and one friend in particular who is deeply sympathetic to Scotland’s desire to remain in the EU and deeply antipathetic to the Tories’ Brexit project. That’s got to hurt.

Now you might imagine that the person who’s going to be negotiating with the British government on behalf of the EU Parliament might know a thing or three about Scotland’s real prospects of remaining a part of the EU, but apparently this is not the case. At least not if you’re a dedicated Unionist user of social media. Being an avid reader of the hate filled diatribes of the Daily Mail, the increasingly demented rantings of the Express, and the bilious frothings of the Telegraph gives you a far greater insight into the operations of the European Union and its institutions than being an EU parliamentarian of many years’ standing and the leader of its grouping of liberal MEPs. It doesn’t matter what Guy says, some guy on Twitter says that Scotland’s going to get vetoed by Spain, and we’ll have to adopt the Euro. And he ended his Tweet with End Of. So that settles the matter definitively.

I’ve already detailed on this blog why Scotland isn’t going to be vetoed by Spain in order to discourage the Catalans. That’s because a Spanish veto of a Scotland that achieves independence peacefully and fully in accord with what passes for a British constitution will only inflame Catalan opinion and make the position of Madrid untenable.

In fact since the Brexit vote even figures at the highest level of the Spanish government, which is no fan of separatist movements, have changed their tune and have been speaking considerably more sympathetically about the possibility of Scottish independence. Just a few weeks ago the Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo said that he expected that within four to five years the UK would return to England’s 16th century borders as a result of Brexit. He said that’s what happens when a ruling party falls under the influence of political extremists like UKIP, and he expected Scotland to seek another independence referendum as a consequence. So much for a Spanish veto then. Although he did threaten to veto Westminster’s Brexit if they want to include Gibraltar, which means the only explicit veto threat that Spain has ever made in connection with the UK, Scotland and the EU has been a threat to veto Westminster and the Tories, not Scotland. Ouch.

Spain would still prefer that there was no Scottish independence movement, but the morning after a Yes vote in a Scottish independence referendum the newspapers in Spain will be headlining a statement from the Spanish government saying, “We’ve said all along that Scotland is a totally different set of circumstances from Catalonia.”

Now one of the main representatives of the EU in negotiations with the UK is a man who is deeply opposed to giving the UK and special deals or privileges, and who is committed to the principle that the single market cannot be separated from the free movement of people. He has also said that it’s wrong for Scotland to be taken out of the EU when it voted to stay, and that if Scotland wants to stay, it can stay. He’s happy to discuss Scottish membership of the EU with Nicola Sturgeon.

The EU Parliament is only one of the three main EU institutions which will be represented in the Brexit negotiations. The EU Commission and the EU Council will also be represented and arguably have more influence than the EU Parliament. But the point remains that Scotland has friends and allies at the very highest levels of the EU, and the next time we go into an independence referendum it’s going to be a whole lot harder for the Unionist parties to argue that if Scotland votes for independence it’s going to be thrown out of the EU and sent to the back of the queue. Mind you, that won’t stop them from saying that, the difference is that there won’t be figures like Barosso making statements favourable to the UK’s position, because if an EU representative makes statements favourable to the UK’s position, then by definition they’ll be making statements detrimental to the EU’s bargaining position. That puts Scotland in a very strong place.

Some people in this country still prefer to believe that Scotland is friendless and isolated, and that we must throw ourselves on the tender mercies of Theresa May and her right wing cabal in Westminster. The truth is that Scotland has more friends in Europe than Westminster does.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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0 thoughts on “Friends in high places

  1. Pingback: Friends in high places | speymouth

  2. Just back after a week’s holiday in Malta (and the football 😊😊😊). Not one Maltese person I spoke to could believe the Brexit result. And all more than happy for Scotland to take the UK place. Also met loads of UK immigrants who work there. HSBC has a huge call centre there as do several of the online betting sites. All are distraught. Told them to check if they have any Scottish blood and to apply for a Scottish passport as soon as Indy2 ref is won 😄😄😄

  3. I would recommend a closer look at the antics of Guy V. before heaping praise on the guy. He is known to be a hardline European unionist where there is no room for nation states, or other currencies than the Euro.
    It was his inflammatory speech to the people of Ukraine on Meydan square with empty promises of European support which worsened the local political situation into a full civil war which is still raging today.

  4. this strange parallel universe we are in just now is really confusing the papers TV news are full of strange stories like the one on the BBC website re- the Edinburgh tram fiasco inquiry they quote as fact the tram fiasco while started under labour it only really got started in 2007 with the lib/dem SNP coalition #^*%$~~ what the f/k do the BBC think they are doing a rewrite of history ? on things they dont like this was the same as the often repeated ” how safe are our schools ” programme for some strange reason keeps popping up on the BBC news channel this doc u drama that goes out of its way to gloss over involvement by Labour Tory Lib/Dem in PFI contracts but seeks to subtly implicate the SNP government by association as the main instigators of this financial mess that is draining the budget and increasing yearly , the bare faced cheek of the ones who caused this mess screaming with rage and indignation that the SNP spend this and that on any bloody thing that they think of while conveniently forgetting the budget has been cut by the Tories , the SNP government cant afford to hand money as Jack McConnell did when Labour couldn’t think of anything to do with it , all they do is MOAN MOAN a daily gripe about anything.

  5. The delicious irony, if we can get the timing right, would be if we held Indyref 2, and as expected, voted Yes, and remained a member of the EU, as Brexit Divorce proceedings were still being hammered out, then we could veto any deal rUK was trying to pitch.
    No that would be too much, surely.

    • Jack, it will only be a YES win this time if the count if secured. There’s no point winning the arguments, winning the vote and then seeing it all go to hell because it’s been rigged by HMG, as I’m sure happened last time. This time it must be an all-Scottish affair: no English police at the polling stations, no postal votes sent to London before being returned to the counting stations (better still, no postal votes at all), no shenanigans around sacks of YES votes turning up on skips, etc etc.

      • agreed a really good time for the EU to be involved to safeguard the interests of their Scottish passport holders who dont want to be royally shafted a second time ,and in the interests of neutrality , after seeing votes delivered to the Glasgow count in cars and unmarked vans to a very confused reception centre late at night who knows where they had been or indeed where they actually came from who verified their route ? if this was mirrored throughout the whole country while it might have been secure during the actual count who confirmed the secure delivery ? . I still dont believe we lost having seen all involvement of different people in 2014 .

      • Also suggest international observers in each polling station and counting to be done there and registered as soon as polls close.There must be no doubt whatsoever what’s in each urn before they are moved anywhere. Tallies can be checked and announced in counting station.

      • But, Brian, Davidson will have her helpers overseeing the postal count, surely?
        Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy, Sirhan Sirhan was brainwashed by the CIA, and Scottish referees make honest mistakes.
        No more Mr Nice Guy, this time. We are watching every move they make, listening to every breath they take.

    • I have always believed that what left REF1 open to the old fixeroo was the make up of The Electoral Register.

      With an alleged registration of, if my memory is correct of around 97% which to me seemed impossible to achieve the postal voting system was wide open to abuse by an organised campaign of applying for postal votes on behalf of individuals who should not have been on the register.

      You didn’t even have to make up people – all you had to do was put a couple of your friends who live elsewhere on the register as living at your address and then apply for postal votes for them – dead easy.

  6. Has Rajoy managed to form a Government yet? Last I heard he was heading for another defeat and another General election.

  7. And wasn’t Guy the “minor official” the FM was received by after the Brexit vote, according to the Bottom Feeder Press?

    I think the FM is a few miles ahead in this Long War.

    I have a vision of a figure in a swivel chair, wearing Totty Rocks heels, stroking a white cat…..

    Tough Times ahead, Yoons.

    • Any hint of progress will be stamped on they control the media as they have controlled contact with the EU throughout our membership even to the extent of a Scottish official sitting in the corridor while a Tory lord did a deal regarding fishing in our waters was it to our benefit who knows our guy was in the corridor for his own good while a lord who previously had no involvement in the industry and was drafted in at the last moment if this was replicated and it probably was with different sectors and industries no wonder most of the real manufacturing base never makes it over the border , same with Tourism the main destination London visitors are directed to English destinations , we are only allowed what they say we are allowed we have no say no input in this one sided Union , all avenues are blocked its like being held prisoner in a box with invisible but very real walls and most Scots with the exception of “YES” voters accept this as normal it is amazing how dangerous and manipulative the state controlled media is.
      Better together my arse some have woken up the blinkered are holding us back and are stopping us from helping them sometimes i think whats the f/kn point .

  8. Great dissection Paul. 🙂

    Y’know, if I was mystic moog, and a believer in sich things, I’d say the stars are aligning for a change.

    It’s suspiciously spooky that Mr Verhofstadt was one of the fellas the FM saw back at the start of the summer. Almost as if the FMs MEPs knew just the folk to go visit in the aftermath of the EU vote. Then there’s the timing of the nation wide survey which finishes, again almost spookily, the week after Mr Hammond’s autmn/winter budget. Timing, as they say, is everything.

    I think the parties and media have a fair idea of what’s coming and they can’t do a thing to stop it except work themselves up into an ever more frantic froth by the day. Poor Ruth has discovered the poison chalice that is opposition and now never mind the permascowl, she has a face like a bag of hammers, but then the day Cameron declared his grand plan (clusterfuck of a gamble) for eliminating the UKIP menace was the day Ruthie lost all control of her political career. She would find herself defending the indefensible and resorting to the the very lowest form politics in the shoutiest, angriest and least attractive way possible.

    Her bog paper thin layer of bonhomie has been ripped away to reveal the real Ruth Davidson and its not a pretty sight. Frustrated, angry, desperate and spiteful… those are the good points.

    Then there is the right wing media (Is there any other kind?). As highlighted by Wings in a post today:

    their agenda has moved beyond low, or merely sewer level journalism, to outright dangerous in their frantic desperation to damage both the Scottish Government and the wider independence movement. They’ve pretty much managed to out Trump… well, Trump. Mind you they do have a lot in common with the fella. They clearly haven’t learnt their lesson from the tragedy during the EU ref earlier this year, or is it a case of they simply don’t care? Leveson’s inquiry should have left all of us with little doubt about the nature of the UK’s media. We really don’t want to find out the hard way just how right he was.

    All of these reactions from the establishment parties and their media are indicators and what do they tell us?

    They’re afraid.

    They’re afraid that Karma is about to pay them a visit and they might just be right about that.

    Tick tock.

    • There is a kind of poetic justice in watching the end of this union of the united kingdom. When the indyref2 comes each person committed to self determination will have a metaphorical skean dhu to rip at the heart of all of Davidson’s and Westminster’s lies and deceit..

  9. The day after the vote, my Dutch friends here in italy were all telling me that Guy Verhofstadt was a hugely respected figure and was almost certainly going to be very pro-Scotland. Within hours they were proven correct. This man is a truly influential ally for our cause. Spot on, Paul.

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  14. It’s grand to dip into some of these “older” blogs.
    History in the making.
    We live in interesting times.
    Sometimes i think of it as the second Scottish enlightenment.

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